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Where to buy in Bay Area, California?
Old 01-18-2016, 08:51 PM   #1
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Where to buy in Bay Area, California?

With a budget of $1.2 million, I am looking for recommendations on where to buy in the Bay Area for a couple where one works in Santa Clara and the other in downtown San Jose.

We will be buying soon and do not have children but are planning to in maybe a few years. We have already crossed off anywhere on the Peninsula and Cupertino as too expensive. We would like somewhere with an okay commute for both of us (max 30 minutes) and with the best schools we can get, with focus on elementary and middle, I guess, since high school is still very far away. We would like a single family home, so no townhomes, condos, or tri-level homes.

With these constraints and budget, is this even doable?

Thanks.
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Old 01-18-2016, 08:56 PM   #2
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Campbell maybe ?


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Old 01-18-2016, 09:03 PM   #3
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Newer house, more square footage - the southern part of Evergreen for the schools. Almaden if you can find something at that price, but pay attention to the schools in the northern part. Cambrian has some highly rated schools, but you will get a smaller, older home. You want to get into the Cambrian school district if you buy there.

San Jose Unified schools are generally to be avoided.

Where in Santa Clara? 101 traffic is awful. Just awful. Unfortunately, Evergreen forces you onto 101.
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:04 PM   #4
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I was going to suggest Campbell too!

Also Willow Glen. It might be outside of your budget, though.
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:11 PM   #5
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Up in the foothills near San Jose Country Club. Drive will be under 30 minute commute (appox 13 mile drive), homes that in the $1.2M price range will have 5 bed, 3 bath, 3500+sq ft and sit on anywhere from 1/2 to over an acre.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Sant...69!2d37.384305

http://www.zillow.com/homes/4010-Soe...,-CA-95127_rb/

Evergreen Elementary School District is the only district that consistently rates 10's on their schools.
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:18 PM   #6
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Why on earth the Bay Area? A 30 minute commute? Highly unlikely. Cousin lives up there and told me last week it took her forty-five minutes just to go one mile to run an errand (the Bay Area is the home of the eight-way, several-minute-long traffic signal--even LA isn't that crazy). Another cousin just started a new job and is projecting at least an hour commute, each way.

Get ready for a surreal home buying experience:

Looking to Buy a Home in San Francisco? Um, Good Luck. - The Bold Italic - San Francisco

Quote:
Home buying, as fellow Bay Area-ites are well aware, is not just painful from a price perspective. It eats up one of our most valuable assets: time. While we were house-searching, our weeknights consisted of browsing Redfin listings in every affordable area in the Bay Area (which kept expanding as the market grew exponentially). We learned to target at least $100K under our budget so that we would have room to overbid to win the property. Then we had to organize our listings in order of priority, timing and location so we could efficiently knock most of them out. We armed ourselves with binders, questions and big smiles so we would be remembered as “the cute young couple” so that the seller’s agent would convince the owner to go with our offer. We’d consider the pros and the cons. We’d get our hopes up by thinking, “This is it,” but then we’d see them dashed. We were tired and hungry, and we missed our weekends.
Sure, you can find a home for under $1M in places like Fremont or Milpitas if you're lucky, but the commute will kill you. If you don't work in tech, you're subsidizing those who do with respect to high cost of living. I would think a couple with no children would have greater choices in terms location options.
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:21 PM   #7
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Look at the San Jose Rose Garden area. It's quite nice and (I just checked) there are a few homes in your price range of the proper size.

It would be quite convenient to both downtown and Santa Clara.

When we lived in that area, DW worked downtown and had about a <10 minute commute which was amazing.

Frankly, the schools are an issue. It's one of the reasons we left the bay area - couldn't afford private and the public schools in the area's we could afford were, um, not what we wanted for our kids.
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:40 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Options View Post
Why on earth the Bay Area? A 30 minute commute? Highly unlikely. Cousin lives up there and told me last week it took her forty-five minutes just to go one mile to run an errand (the Bay Area is the home of the eight-way, several-minute-long traffic signal--even LA isn't that crazy). Another cousin just started a new job and is projecting at least an hour commute, each way.
I've gotta ask as well, why that area? (Although living close to Levi Stadium might be cool)

I'd rather be unemployed that work in the bay area. That whole place is gonna drop into the ocean when the big one hits!

My son lives in Napa and commutes to downtown San Francisco 3 blocks up from Fisherman's Wharf. Takes him about 60 minutes unless he takes the ferry from Vallejo. Then it takes him an hour and 15 minutes, but he saves the parking fees.

I think people tend to over state the driving and traffic. I lived in Milpitas, Hayward and Fremont many years ago. The traffic has gotten worse, but the crime is what you want to worry about.
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:43 PM   #9
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The schools are really bad for the homes in San Jose Country Club area. Most people up there send their kids to private school. Lots of crime as you drive down the hill and burglary/petty theft makes its way up to the houses shown. Also, those houses are in unincorporated County areas, so services are County, not City. You call the sheriff, not San Jose PD.

Fremont and Milpitas are not cheap any longer, and the commutes are unpleasant. Milpitas has a couple of ok elementary schools, the rest are not highly rated. Fremont is not going to give you the 30 minute commute you want. Mission San Jose in Fremont has good schools, but is not in your price range.

The Rose Garden borders some seedy areas and puts you in San Jose Unified. Pull up the Great Schools map on Zillow. Look for the areas with the green circles....
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:48 PM   #10
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The traffic is an order of magnitude worse that at the depths of the recession. It routinely takes three signals to make a left turn at one intersection along Capitol Expressway I have to use every day.
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Old 01-18-2016, 10:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by livetodream View Post
With a budget of $1.2 million, I am looking for recommendations on where to buy in the Bay Area for a couple where one works in Santa Clara and the other in downtown San Jose.

We will be buying soon and do not have children but are planning to in maybe a few years. We have already crossed off anywhere on the Peninsula and Cupertino as too expensive. We would like somewhere with an okay commute for both of us (max 30 minutes) and with the best schools we can get, with focus on elementary and middle, I guess, since high school is still very far away. We would like a single family home, so no townhomes, condos, or tri-level homes.

With these constraints and budget, is this even doable?

Thanks.
Something to think about. You do not have to live in City of Cupertino
to attend Cupertino schools. School boundaries and City boundaries are different.

So possible to buy a house say in Santa Clara and still attend Cupertino
Schools. ( you will still pay a premium for this, but is still less than buying
in Cupertino). This principle applies to other cities. Any Real Estate agent
should know this.

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Where to buy in Bay Area, California?
Old 01-18-2016, 10:51 PM   #12
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Where to buy in Bay Area, California?

I lived in willow glen for ten years and it's a great little neighborhood. In my opinion nicer than rose garden and has more character than Campbell with a wider variety of home styles. 1.2 million should be enough to get a decent house, certainly better than starter, but probably not a 2k sq feet remodel.

I worked in downtown San Jose for most of that time and the commute was awesome. Less than 10 minutes with no traffic ever. However toward the end of my stay I commuted to mountain view - in the mornings this was ok to bad, evenings was terrible to hellish.

My friend had the opposite commute from Sunnyvale to San Jose and I think this was much better. So living further north might be a better option.

Another commute option may be to take Caltrain from Diridon station.


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Old 01-18-2016, 11:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Options View Post
Why on earth the Bay Area? A 30 minute commute? Highly unlikely. Cousin lives up there and told me last week it took her forty-five minutes just to go one mile to run an errand (the Bay Area is the home of the eight-way, several-minute-long traffic signal--even LA isn't that crazy). Another cousin just started a new job and is projecting at least an hour commute, each way.

Get ready for a surreal home buying experience:

Looking to Buy a Home in San Francisco? Um, Good Luck. - The Bold Italic - San Francisco



Sure, you can find a home for under $1M in places like Fremont or Milpitas if you're lucky, but the commute will kill you. If you don't work in tech, you're subsidizing those who do with respect to high cost of living. I would think a couple with no children would have greater choices in terms location options.

Well, this is where I grew up and it's where my family lives. My spouse, on the other hand, works in tech and moved here especially to do a startup. Yeah, he's one of *those*. The cost of living is painful, but this is where my roots are and it's where he's trying to set down roots. Sometimes we think about moving away, but then we can't think of anywhere we'd like better. We love the weather and the food, especially.

If someone has moved away from the Bay Area to somewhere else with tech jobs and loves it more, I'm all ears!
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:16 AM   #14
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If someone has moved away from the Bay Area to somewhere else with tech jobs and loves it more, I'm all ears!
San Francisco jobs and live near a BART station in the East Bay? It is still a commute but sitting (maybe standing) and reading or listing to music instead of driving in heavy traffic and home prices tend to be a bit lower.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:59 AM   #15
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Here's a nice Willow Glen fixer...be sure to read the description and look at the schools...

1691 Santa Lucia Dr, San Jose, CA 95125 | MLS #ML81520306 | Zillow
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:51 AM   #16
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One thing to keep in mind if you or spouse work in tech is that there are way more jobs/companies up the peninsula than in san jose. So buying further north will be safer (also more expensive). When we bought in san jose, both of us worked for companies/orgs that weren't going anywhere (not startups).

Some companies have buses but in my experience they are slower and it's hard to work on them due to the motion (obviously depends on the person).
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Old 01-19-2016, 10:28 AM   #17
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Well, this is where I grew up and it's where my family lives. My spouse, on the other hand, works in tech and moved here especially to do a startup. Yeah, he's one of *those*. The cost of living is painful, but this is where my roots are and it's where he's trying to set down roots. Sometimes we think about moving away, but then we can't think of anywhere we'd like better. We love the weather and the food, especially.

If someone has moved away from the Bay Area to somewhere else with tech jobs and loves it more, I'm all ears!
A sibling works in the cloud and has worked all over the country--everywhere from Austin, Denver, NY, (and Boston, I think), somewhere in the South, and now in WA. Cloud (particularly security) is all the rage in tech, as I understand it, with lots of opportunity and options nationwide. Other family are stuck in the BA as they all work in tech, too. Some, who make exceptional money, are priced out of housing. Others, much younger, are leaving the BA for opportunity elsewhere, as starting a family is very, very expensive.

I grew up there and remember when you could cross the entire Santa Clara Valley floor in about half an hour! What's it take now--two, three hours, in excruciating traffic? I believe traffic in the BA is now worse than LA. I could never, ever return (of course I'll say the same thing about LA when I leave here (soon), too!).

Good luck!
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:46 PM   #18
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Lovely how this has devolved into a Bash the Bay Area thread. Very helpful for the OP.
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:49 PM   #19
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Lovely how this has devolved into a Bash the Bay Area thread. Very helpful for the OP.
+1
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Old 01-19-2016, 01:06 PM   #20
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What else is there to do with it? The point is there are not a lot of good options there, and one should be careful in making these kinds of decisions. Especially when young and thinking of starting a family in the future.
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